Eating is a primitive urge, like sleeping or going to the bathroom. When food sources are abundant, we are hard-wired to eat as much as our body needs to function, survive, and reproduce, but also — more critically — to store against the possibility of famine. Eating is also a source of comfort and pleasure. This too is hard-wired. When we sit and eat, our bodies get the message that, for the moment, it is okay to relax. We are nurturing ourselves. No hard labour or strenuous physical activity can occur at that moment. This is a powerful motivation.

What has caught us unawares is the degradation and manipulation of our food supply combined with a major decrease in our physical activity. Over-processed food, refined sugar products, preservatives, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and food substitutes now populate the bulk of our grocery aisles. Our food is transported thousands of miles and must keep for weeks, losing much of its nutritional value in transit. Today, we drive instead of walk, use machines more often than our muscles, and eat out or are on the run more frequently. In addition, we have multi-million dollar industries bent on coercing us to buy and eat a seemingly endless supply of unhealthy food.

Instead of berating ourselves for “cheating” when we eat a food that is not in our best interests, we need to think about the totality of our lifestyle choices with our individual histories and needs (both physical and emotional) in mind.

Let’s face it – Food is good! Eating is fun! It’s no wonder we find it agonizing to deprive ourselves of this most basic and nurturing act. Instead of all the negativity, I’d like to encourage everyone to rediscover the positive nature of sharing food around the table. It all begins with that magic word- balance.

The best way to jumpstart your metabolic function is to eat well (which includes taking a daily multivitamin), and to eat regularly and often – we just ask that you watch your portion size. And you have a great portion control tool right at hand — your own hand!